What is Biofeedback Therapy?
Biofeedback therapy is an innovative therapy used in the counseling world that started to gain popularity in the 1960s.1 “Bio” means body, so “biofeedback” indicates that an individual is receiving feedback from their body.
This type of therapy allows clients to become more aware of their autonomic nervous system and how it affects their interactions with the world. People often brush off symptoms like headaches and muscle tension, which can be your body’s way of saying that it is in overload. Once the body’s signals start interfering with our day-to-day activities, then we start to do something about it.
There are several different relaxation techniques used to increase benefits from biofeedback therapy during a session, including deep breathing, guided imagery, mindfulness meditation and music therapy. A normal session lasts between 30 and 60 minutes.
Through biofeedback therapy, clients learn how to synchronize their heart rhythm to the body’s central nervous system, allowing the heart and body to work efficiently. When we’re stressed, angry, sad, upset or tired, our bodies work harder to keep us going. However, when the heart and body are working together in an efficient way, we don’t need to use as much energy.
Who Benefits from Biofeedback Therapy?
Biofeedback therapy helps individuals who suffer from:2
- Attention Deficit Disorder
- Attention Disorder Hyperactivity Disorder
- Chronic pain
- Cardiac arrhythmias
- Raynaud’s disease
- Disorders of the digestive system
Clients who mark high on muscle tension and headaches will often state these symptoms are reduced, if not eliminated, following a biofeedback therapy session. Individuals who suffer from anxiety, depression or fear will also see benefits from biofeedback therapy. Biofeedback therapy can be beneficial in treating many different disorders.
How Does It Work?
The audio component of biofeedback therapy uses binaural beats to induce a theta-level meditative state. The theta meditative state is just above the delta level, or sleeping state. The theta meditative state helps trigger a natural relaxation response within the body.
Scientists believe that the relaxation technique used in biofeedback therapy is a key component in helping with certain disorders, in particular those made worse by stress. When an individual is under acute stress, their body may go into fight-or-flight mode. The body reacts to a perceived threat and uses more energy in preparation to fight off an attack or harmful event. Biofeedback therapy teaches clients to be aware of their body’s response to stress and to think before they act.